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The Weather Detective
Cover of The Weather Detective
The Weather Detective
Rediscovering Nature's Secret Signs
Borrow Borrow
The internationally bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees shows how we can decipher nature's secret signs by studying the weather.
The internationally bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees shows how we can decipher nature's secret signs by studying the weather.
In this first-ever English translation of The Weather Detective, Peter Wohlleben uses his long experience and deep love of nature to help decipher the weather and our local environments in a completely new and compelling way. Analyzing the explanations for everyday questions and mysteries surrounding weather and natural phenomena, he delves into a new and intriguing world of scientific investigation.
At what temperature do bees stay home? Why do southerly winds in winter often bring storms? How can birdsong or flower scents help you tell the time? These are among the many questions Wohlleben poses in his newly translated book. Full of the very latest discoveries, combined with ancient now-forgotten lore, The Weather Detective helps you read nature's secret signs and discover a rich new layer of meaning in the world around you.
The internationally bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees shows how we can decipher nature's secret signs by studying the weather.
The internationally bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees shows how we can decipher nature's secret signs by studying the weather.
In this first-ever English translation of The Weather Detective, Peter Wohlleben uses his long experience and deep love of nature to help decipher the weather and our local environments in a completely new and compelling way. Analyzing the explanations for everyday questions and mysteries surrounding weather and natural phenomena, he delves into a new and intriguing world of scientific investigation.
At what temperature do bees stay home? Why do southerly winds in winter often bring storms? How can birdsong or flower scents help you tell the time? These are among the many questions Wohlleben poses in his newly translated book. Full of the very latest discoveries, combined with ancient now-forgotten lore, The Weather Detective helps you read nature's secret signs and discover a rich new layer of meaning in the world around you.
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    1

    What Will the Weather Be Like?

    Every TV or radio news bulletin is always followed by the weather report, and it is often better than it's reputed to be. Forecasts of up to a week in advance are about 70 percent likely to be true, while there is a 90 percent success rate for those covering twenty-four hours ahead. Looking at it the other way, this means every tenth weather forecast misses the mark. The reason for this is chaotic weather conditions that simply cannot be predicted. I find it very irritating that presenters never admit to this with a statement like, "Because of the current situation, today's data is very uncertain." You simply never hear that. Nevertheless, it can't hurt to look outside and to read the signs for yourself if you wish to check what the clouds are up to. Over the years, you stand to develop a strong sense of what is going to unfold in the next few hours.

    Cloud towers and rosy sunsets

    The evening sun is a much-loved prophet. If it sets with a warm, rosy glow, it is taken as a sign of sunshine the following morning, as in the rhyme, "Red sky at night: shepherd's delight." This happens because the sunbeams stream in low through the atmosphere from the clear skies in the west and light up the clouds slowly drifting off to the east. And since, in western Europe, the weather usually comes from the west, a broadly cloudless western horizon means clear skies for the following few hours.

    Things are the other way around with rosy dawn skies. The saying goes, "Red sky in the morning: shepherd's warning." This is also usually right. For the sun rises in the east, where the sky is still clear, and shines onto the clouds gathering in the west, which will rapidly spread and fill the sky.

    Every rule has its exception, of course: when the wind blows not from the west, but from the south or the east, red skies at sunset or sunrise bear no prophetic significance.

    The wind direction can itself be used as a forecasting instrument. The west wind carries moist sea air from the Atlantic, which form clouds and often rainfall. As clouds insulate the Earth like a blanket, they influence the temperature. Dense cloud cover in the winter prevents it from dropping as severely as when there are blue skies, by reducing heat loss at night. However, there is a greater chance of rain with a westerly wind. In summer, meanwhile, cloud cover prevents hotter spells, as it keeps the Earth's surface in the shade.

    South winds bring warmth from the Mediterranean or even the Sahara. In summer, these southerly winds can trigger a heat wave and in winter they often carry storms in their luggage. This is because on their way across Central Europe they meet polar air masses that flow to us from the north, bringing about a violent exchange as the cold air mingles with the hot air. This can, of course, also happen with cold north winds as they come into contact with unusually warm winter air.

    The east wind promises stable conditions and a clear sky. In summer, it is very warm and in winter bitterly cold. Without protective cloud cover, every season shows its extreme side.

    To determine the wind direction, you can't beat the classic weathercock. The cockerel spins about on his seat of a cross, whose four arms each bear a letter for the four points of the compass. Why not install a weather vane like this in your garden or on the roof of your house? As the cock always looks in the direction from which the wind blows, assuming it is correctly installed, it shows the wind direction and thus allows you to predict the coming weather.

    The key players in...

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2018
    A garden provides the key to the natural universe.In matter-of-fact prose with only occasional hints of poetry, Wohlleben (The Inner Life of Animals, 2017, etc.), who worked for two decades in the forestry commission in Germany, offers a guidebook on how everything we need to know about the weather can be learned by paying close attention to our natural surroundings in general and our gardens in particular. As the author writes, you don't need a clock to know what time it is. You can listen to "the bird clock" or watch for the telling signs of "the flower clock," learning when and how different species respond to the hours of the day. "What I'm really interested in is reclaiming our powers of observation which, up until now, have been buried under the surface of modernity," he writes in conclusion. "When we use our senses at full capacity, we access the wealth of thrilling and calming experiences waiting for us just outside our back doors, in nature and in our gardens." Wohlleben demonstrates the delicate balance between asserting human control over a garden and letting nature take its course. He ponders issues such as whether to have a bird feeder (he has some ambivalence but has switched sides) and whether to use artificial light on the garden at night--absolutely not: the author doesn't turn on lights inside unless absolutely necessary and closes the blinds tightly when he does. The author is ever aware of the biggest picture: "I find it especially fascinating to think that when we observe the night sky we are looking into the past. For the stars are nothing but very, very distant suns, whose light has taken centuries, if not millennia, to reach us." Most of the narrative is fairly pragmatic and offers specific advice on what we can learn from plants, insects, and animals and how the weather affects those interactions.You'll never look at your garden the same way again.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2018

    Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees) worked for the German forestry commission for more than 20 years and currently runs environmentally friendly woodland. In the beginning of this latest work, the author shares how readers can predict the weather in the short term by using natural phenomena such as sky color or the amount and type of cloud cover. He then discusses astronomy, the characteristics of the four seasons, the impact of climate change, soils and soil fauna, native vs. invasive plants and animals, and predator/prey relationships, all tied to a garden setting. The work only contains metric measurements, and the weather patterns and many of wildlife examples are native to England or continental Europe, though most of the information can be extrapolated by interested readers. Tristan Gooley's The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs offers a more comprehensive discussion of deciphering the mystery of the great outdoors. VERDICT An inviting and easily understandable look at weather and natural phenomena that will appeal to weather, nature, and gardening buffs, and all who want a better understanding of nature's processes.--Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove, IL

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Weather Detective
The Weather Detective
Rediscovering Nature's Secret Signs
Peter Wohlleben
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